The Lord Is My Chef Christmas Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II Monday in the Octave of Christmas, Feast of St. Stephen, First Martyr, 26 December 2022 Acts 6:8-10, 7:54-59 ><))))*> + ><))))*> + ><))))*> Matthew 10:17-22
Dearest Jesus: when I was a child, I have always wondered how did it happen you were born in December then suddenly in April you died on the Cross? Now I have grown and learned about history and most of all about life and living, I have realized the beautiful truth of your coming: you became like us not to remove but to be one with us in our sufferings even death so that we may be one with you in your Resurrection!
Thank you for this wonderful reminder of your Christmas Octave: your Nativity is also the feast of your final coming when you will be surrounded by your angels and saints like St. Stephen our first Martyr, tomorrow by St. John the Apostle, your beloved, and on Wednesday by the Holy Innocents. Along came with Christmas comes also the Cross of Good Friday!
Jesus said to his disciples: “Beware of men, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans. You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.”Matthew 10:17-18, 22
O Lord, indeed, let us "beware of men" who forget that looming behind your manger is also the Cross; let us "beware of men" who have commercialized and trivialized your birth, focusing more on happiness and fun, not even joy as you have described at your Last Supper; let us "beware of men" who have taken you away from Christmas, worshipping money and things and all that glitz and glamour of the world; let us "beware of men" who forget the poor and marginalized, the old and infants especially those in their mother's wombs; let us "beware of men" who insist on changing the rules of marriage and sex according to their selfish and truncated views on life and relationships; let us "beware of men" who deny your Cross!
Like St. Stephen, help us Lord Jesus to always look up to you in heaven in prayers and sacrifices, witnessing your gospel and your Cross, remaining faithful and true to you, upright and decent in living, defending life and justice without condemning nor judging our persecutors. Amen.